We have a lot of pantry items! You could get by on a lot less and still have wonderful variety in your meals. A lot of items we store in jars (cup, pint, quart, bigger, even bigger jars) marked with this gooey permanent white marker. I saw the idea online when we first moved to our apartment but I can’t find the site now. I like to get lids separately because double lids are annoying to open and these ones are BPA free.
- Onions – My most favorite ingredient.
- Garlic – I don’t believe you can have too much. Oh wait. I made this tzatziki sauce once and it was so raw garlicky it was painful, so yes, you can have too much.
- Tomatoes – People don’t always understand keeping tomatoes out. I agree they can go bad faster, but they get this mushy texture when in the fridge that I don’t like.
Dried Dals & Beans
Black dal isn’t listed because we don’t have it much, but if we do, we get it already cooked and recipe ready from Trader Joe’s. The last time I checked they had two types, one in the refrigerated vegetable section and another in the pantry area in air tight plastic packaging. I like the refrigerated variety better, it mushes up more.
- Toor Dal – The dal we used most. I like it with mustard seeds and curry leaves best.
- Channa Dal – Also yummy, I like it cuminy and tomatoey.
- Moong Dal (green)
- Moong Dal (yellow)
- Moong Whole (mug) – Very satisfying Indian Breakfast.
- Masoor Dal – Great dal with goda masala.
- Urad Dal – Used in a lot of South Indian Recipes and for Apam.
- Channa/Chole – Gabanzo beans. I like two Indian types of channa masala the dark cinnamony style and a creamier lighter style.
- Kidney Beans – Can we say rajma masala! Sometimes I soak some and freeze them so they are ready to go faster.
- Pinto Beans – For the best most authentic Mexican refried beans, but I don’t refry them. Maybe that makes them not authentic? Not sure, but they taste right to me!
Rice & Noodles
- Sona Masoori Rice – Every day Indian rice.
- Basmati Rice – We use basmati rice the most.
- Jasmin Rice – I pretty much use Jasmin for anything that goes with a medium grain white rice. Vietnamese and Thai food? Of course, Jasmin. Spanish rice? Jasmin. Rice pilaf? Jasmin.
- Calrose Rice – Good for Japanese dishes like teriyaki.
- Brown Short Grain Rice – I tried to get us to use a brown variety of every kind of rice, but really, it wasn’t happening.
- Spaghetti – Mmm for spaghetti.
- Penne, rotelli, or other Italian Pasta – We usually have a couple on hand at any one time.
- Pad Thai Noodles
- Asian Wheat Noodles – Pancit, Chinese wheat noodles, etc.
- Rice Vermicelli
- Japanese Soba Noodles
Cans & Boxes & Jars
- Kidney Beans – For quick Rajma Masala.
- Garbanzo Beans – Indo-Chinese brand for quick chaat and channa masala. This brand’s chick peas are very tender alleviating the need to cook them to get them softer.
- Black Beans
- Petite Diced Tomatoes – We used to us Pomi tomato products because I found out that the acidity of tomatoes eats at the can lining which contains BPA, but Pomi tomatoes don’t always last even until their expiration date, so I can’t rely on them. Unfortunately it is back to canned. I like petite diced better than normal diced because the tomatoes seem more tender and less chunky.
- Crushed Tomatoes in Tomato Puree – Great for simple marina sauce!
- Tomato Paste
- Coconut Milk
- Bottled Spaghetti Sauce (like Prego!)
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce – Amazing in spanish rice and other dishes. Hot and smokey.
- Diced Green Chiles
- Straw Mushrooms – For chinese dishes.
- Baby Corn – For Indian Chinese food and Chinese pan fried noodles.
- Bamboo Shoots – For Chinese (like hot & sour soup) and Thai dishes.
- Canned Lychees – To make shaved ice. Yum.
- Canned Mango Pulp – For mango lassi.
Nuts & Things
- Peanuts – Tejas puts peanuts on everything that, 1) isn’t Indian, and 2) he doesn’t put Maggi Hot & Sweet Tomato Chili Sauce on.
- Walnuts – Mostly for oatmeal, but good for salads too.
- Sliced Almonds – Good for Cape Malay yellow rice.
- Pinenuts – Good in pastas and salads (these can be kept in the freezer too to make them last longer).
- Cashews – Used in some Indian recipes.
- Desiccated Coconut – Used in South Indian recipes.
- Raisins – Good in Cape Malay yellow rice, and fun taco recipes.
- Boondi – Itty bitty fried flour balls. For boondi raita (just add boondi & the masala to yogurt), fantastic with rajma masala!
Mixes & Such
Shoot, these are all mostly for Indian breakfasts, except for the Banx Xeo. Maybe I’ll reorganize this another time.
- Suji – Wheat semolina, for upma, Indian style cream of wheat.
- Sabudano – Little tapioca ball, an Indian breakfast.
- Indian Rice Vermicelli – Another Indian breakfast. I haven’t made this yet, not sure if it will be a staple in the house.
- Idli Mix – I’ve tried to make this from scratch, but it wasn’t happening and this mix is great!
- Dosa Mix – Ditto above.
- Banh Xeo Mix – Vietnamese crepes that are to die for. Mung beans and mushrooms, bean sprouts, wrapped in lettuce and dipped in sauce. I actually think this mix is just rice flower and tumeric, so I’ve used it in other recipes as well.
Flours & Sugars
- Jaggery – Goes in Indian dishes, especially Gujarati.
- Palm Sugar – For Thai and other Southeast Asian cooking.
- Brown Sugar
- Powdered Sugar
- Atta Flour – More fine than regular whole wheat flour. Used to make rotis, which I’ve tried to do without consistent results. Thank goodness there is an Indian market across the street with homemade rotis!
- Unbleached Flour (Maida)
- Bread Flour – For bread and pizza dough. I will master this one day!
- Cornstarch – Thickener for Chinese sauces and a coating for fried items.
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Eno – Fruit salt. Add a little to Idli batter and voila, fluffy idlis!
- Masa Harina – For homemade corn tortillas.